Watering the Peace Lily

Editors Note: Today’s post is from Staff Writer Bethany Suckrow and is a beautiful story about the importance of God’s grace to nourish our souls.

I always go a day too long without watering it.

From my usual spot in the corner chair of my living room one evening, I looked up from my computer screen, bleary-eyed after hours of writing, and blinked at the coffee table.

There was my peace lily, slumped in a terrifying wilt, its leaves prostrate. And as my habit has become over the three months since I got it, I rushed over with my glass of water and doused the plant as though it had caught fire. I waited breathlessly, half hoping it would spring to life right then and there. It didn’t, and eventually I left it alone, frustrated with myself. When I glanced at it again the next morning, it was thriving again, stems vertical, leaves cascading gracefully as if to say,

“See? I’m fine now. Thanks for the drink.”

It’s a very forgiving plant.

My aunt insisted I take the peace lily from the abundance of botanicals given to us when my mom passed away, but I didn’t understand why.

“It’ll be good for you,” she said.

A plant? In my tiny little apartment? Good for me, how? (What about the plant’s well being?)

I took it, but I felt a little uncertain, sure that I would kill it by accidental neglect. I just didn’t trust myself to keep it alive (clearly for good reason.) In my confusing sense of “logic,” that perplexes even myself sometimes, I believed that it would be easier to care for a puppy than a plant. If the thing can’t talk or even bark, how do I know when to feed it? I do not pretend to know the subtleties of plant communication.

And yet. Three months later, I think my peace lily and I are finally starting to understand each other.

A kindredness has formed, even when I neglect it. I’ve begun to recognize the tell-tale signs of thirst as its leaves wrinkle around the edges and slowly lose their perk after a few days.

“Water me please.”

This silent conversation between us echoes the one that I have with myself often, the one I have when I’m at my wits end, when my grief is at its deepest, when nothing feels right, when my relationship with God feels lifeless.

I don’t know why, but I’ve had a lot of those moments lately. Sometimes my soul feels wilted, prostrate on the ground, starved for Grace.

I make all sorts of excuses for this – how busy I am with a full-time job, my blog, my Etsy shop, my work with Prodigal, and all the trappings of everyday life. I lose myself in it all until I am starved and desperate.

How did I let it get to this point?

I ask, and bend my knees in prayer. A last resort. A douse of water to put out the fire when things get out of control.

God is ever present, but our relationship – the one thing in my life that is rooted in peace – withers when I preoccupy myself with anything but His Grace.

It is when I make Him a priority that I realize what a little prayer can do for peace.

  • http://inhisloveministries.blogspot.com Pilar Arsenec

    Beautiful!!

  • http://jcloveslynie.wordpress.com lyn

    Grace Grace God’s grace…just cant do without it even for a second….
    its oxygen for every moment….we need it…we just cant do without it….thank God for his amazing Grace…

  • http://clairikine.blogspot.com Claire

    Ugh, that feeling of business. Mercy!

  • http://Thechurchofnopeople.com Matt @ The Church of No People

    I have one of those. I always thought it was the whiniest plant ever. Always drooping and being melodramatic. I never think to water it until it acts like that. But I had never looked at it that way. :)

    • http://Krisirj.blogspot.com Krisi

      Matt,

      I love your persona of that poor lily!

    • http://shewritesandrights.blogspot.com bethany

      I’m with Krisi – “whiny” and “melodramatic” made me laugh… and rethink my parallel to the peace lily, because perhaps now it hits a little too close to home. Whiny and melodramatic? Me? Never… ;)

  • faith

    thanks for the reminder bethany! i go way too long- WAY too long too. work, kids, home upkeep, kids activities… too many excuses that overwhelm me every time! but once i stop- and rest and pray…He comforts me!

  • http://everydayawe.com Stephanie Spencer

    “Sometimes my soul feels wilted, prostrate on the ground, starved for Grace.”

    That is a beautiful sentence. And so true.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I love the way simple things can teach us deep lessons.

    • http://shewritesandrights.blogspot.com bethany

      Thanks, Stephanie!